April 19th, 2012
02:06 PM ET
When series creator Diane English pitched "Murphy Brown" to CBS back in 1988, the network was concerned the character wasn't likable enough.
Executives wanted her age to be 30 - or better yet, 25 - rather than 40, and they didn't like that, in the pilot, Murphy was fresh out of rehab. They also would've preferred that Heather Locklear take on the part.
But 10 years, 247 episodes and 93 assistants later (with a running gag on the show being that Murphy could never keep one), "Murphy Brown" remains beloved to this day. At last weekend's TV Land Awards, which will air on April 29, the series received the coveted Impact Award.
The event also honored "Laverne and Shirley" (Fan Favorite Award), "Pee-wee's Playhouse" (Pop Culture Award), "One Day at a Time" (Innovator Award), and "In Living Color" (Groundbreaking Award). Aretha Franklin received the Icon Award and The B-52's served as the house band.
Diane English, along with the entire cast, appeared on stage to accept the award. This was one of the great TV ensembles, with:
In the fictional "60 Minutes"-style "FYI" newsroom, Murphy didn't suffer fools gladly, which is why English described her as "Mike Wallace in a dress." English even took the time out to dedicate the Impact Award to the real-life "60 Minutes" newsman, who died on April 7 at the age of 93, saying "he's gonna be very missed."
The group also took a moment to remember the late Robert Pastorelli, who played Murphy's house painter Eldin. Pastorelli passed away in 2004.
The actors gave speeches as well, starting with Bergen, who said, "Happily, for 10 years and 247 episodes, America - with the possible exception of one vice president - found much to like in Murphy and her friends."
The vice president the actress was referring to was Dan Quayle, who famously lambasted the eponymous Murphy Brown in a now-infamous 1993 speech for "mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice."
Ford, meanwhile, recalled being convinced that she blew her audition.
"I walked out of the audition and I felt like I hadn't done a good enough job," she said, "so I knocked on the door and I came back in and I said, 'I know how Corky would dance!'"
Kimbrough - no doubt channeling his inner Jim Dial - simply stated, "I was really lucky to get the job," and Shaud recalled that CBS executives were reluctant about him as well, as he was an unknown at the time.
"The network didn't want me either," said Shaud, "but thankfully Diane stood up for me in the room. I didn't have a TV Q (Q rating) because I'd never been on TV."
Regalbuto stated that the biggest honor for him was "to have worked with these people. Diane gave me a job that changed my life. I actually got to meet and work with Candice Bergen, which was a thrill... a great experience. And as much fun as the show was for us, it was a true joy and we'll always be privileged to have been a part of that show."
CNN spoke to Regalbuto about the fact that Frank was the only character on the show permitted to call Bergen's character "Murph."
"As a matter of fact," Regalbuto noted, "there was a time when we had a guest actor, I don't remember who it was, who called her 'Murph' by accident. Oh, the producers came down on him!"
The fact that "Murphy Brown" remains beloved to this day is "a thrill," Regalbuto told CNN. "I think we were capturing something then about behind-the-scenes news organizations and what goes on. It was a terrific time and I think the timing was just perfect to sort of fit in there and reflect what goes on behind those cameras a lot."
What about you? Do you have a favorite "Murphy Brown" storyline, episode, character, or running gag? Let us know in the comments.
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